Pediatric cancer awareness: How one Texas camp for kids with cancer have changed during the pandemic

The camp provides a safe space for kids battling cancer

Megan McCullum’s son had brain cancer at 7-years-old. Now, he’s 12 and in remission, but she says their cancer journey gave their family something they’ll cherish forever: Camp Periwinkle.

“Periwinkle is the Disneyworld of camps. My kids have been to other camps and I’m telling you that no camp does it like Camp Periwinkle,” McCullum said.

Camp Periwinkle at Camp for All in Burton, Texas provides kids with cancer their own place to be themselves and bond with others going through the same treatments. For kids in the hospital who can’t get to the campsite, the camp also brings outdoor activities to their bedside.

Recently, the camp has not operated the same and made moves to adjust to life in the pandemic.

“It’s been really hard and we hear it from the campers, we hear it from the families that aren’t able to come because of their suppressed immune systems,” President and CEO of Camp for All, Pat Sorrells, said.

“Cancer and treatment, it tears down our children. They’re not emotionally able to process what has happened to them,” McCullum explained. “Being at camp, it’s a healing process for them.”

Many families were able to enjoy camp as a family, meaning they went with limited capacity and didn’t share cabins with other people. Others participated virtually, like the McCallum’s.

Like many things during COVID times, they said it wasn’t the same, and the families are looking forward to a time when the camp will be open like normal. Hopefully, according to Sorells, that can be next year.